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Sonia Rodriguez


SONIA RODRIGUEZ– PRINCIPAL DANCER WITH THE NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA


SELF-RELIANCE


The first ballet I ever saw was  Swan Lake  , and it was being broadcast on TV in Sp  ain. I vividly remember the wome  n  float  on stage, as if by magic. Even though I didn’t see a live ballet performance till I was 15, I remember being enamored by the atmosphere of the televised  performance and knew that ballet was something I needed to be a part of.

I started taking  dance  lessons at a judo and karate studio  outside  Madrid  , which  happened to offer ballet on the side. By the time I was 12, I knew that I wanted to be a professional ball  et dancer. Around the same time  ,  a new teacher, Pedro de la Cruz, moved to the area, and I hit the  jackpot. He was an amazing teacher who really opened my eyes to the world of ballet. Under his guidance, we would perform our ballet exams at  The Royal Conservatory in Madrid.  I was also able  to attend the exams at the  Princess Grace Academy, in Monaco, because of my teacher’  s affiliation with the school.  M  any of the kids with the highest grades would be selected for a small  semi-professional  touring company. This gave me a taste of what it would be like to ha  ve a professional dance career, and left me  wanting more.

Growing up, there was no one dancer I aspired to be like. Dancing always filled a deep need for me to express myself. Once you start trying to be like  someone else, you l  ose your  authentic  sense of  artistry. When I was growing up, there was no  YouTube  or such easy accessibility  to the world. We had to look within our selves for inspiration, not the internet.

Throughout my career, there have been different challenges at different points. Somehow I have survived them all!  If I could go back in time, I would tell the  child  version of myself “you’re ok”.  On the road of development, each difficulty is equally important. For me, my personal nightmare came true  as soon as I began to listen to people who  didn’t  support  me  . When others don’t believe in you, the  easy  answer is to assume their opinions are correct  . As long as you put stock in what these people are saying, it’s  all too  easy to be emotionally beaten. But it’s when we are at our lowest that it’s most important to ignore the negativity and remember that separately from ballet, we are good.

During  my  time  as a principal dancer at the  National Ballet of Canada, I have been privileged to dance a wide variety of roles and work with many  genius  choreographers. In 2012, I was awarded a place on the  Canadian Walk of Fame. Since the ceremony was televised, it was  wonderful  to be able to celebrate my career with a national audience, not just within the ballet world. It made me realize how lucky we are to have a career we are so passionate about. However, beyond dancing, I am most proud of how I have been able to balance my family life, which includes caring for my children.

As I was growing up in Spain, I never could have imagined the magic ballet has brought to my life. I define success as loving something so much you don’t want to do anything else. I have been lucky enough to have a job I love to do, not just something I have to do.

Photos by  Karolina Kuras


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CHECK OUT ZARELY BALLET TIGHTS Sonia AND OTHER TOP BALLET DANCERS USE DAILY


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